YOUNGSTERS from MMU Cheshire helped new Sunderland boss Roy Keane take his first steps on the coaching ladder.

Having hung up his boots this summer, the former Manchester United legend is currently taking his UEFA A Licence coaching badge - the qualification needed to manage in the Premiership.

Twenty boys from MMU's Football Academy, based at Alsager, were put through their paces by Keane after being specially invited by the FA to attend the Lilleshall session.

The players, who are studying for a BTEC Diploma in Sport and Exercise Science, also linked up with other famous faces going for their badge, including former Newcastle United and England star Peter Beardsley.

Student Elliott Hackney, 16, said: 'Keane coached us on intercepting the ball and attacking quickly, while Beardsley did a session on crossing and defending.

'They were brilliant, encouraging us all the time. I've been thinking about going into coaching when I'm older and this amazing experience has really given me a taste for it.'

MMU's Nigel Deeley added: 'Keane was superb with our boys. He was unassuming and treated the players with a huge amount of respect. Mixing with footballing legends will help the boys.'

The academy was formed last year for school leavers after MMU Cheshire teamed up with Newcastle-under-Lyme College.